Thursday, July 9, 2015

Movie Review: "Despicable Me" (2010)

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Movie"Despicable Me"
Director: Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud
Year: 2010
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Gru (Steve Carell) is a longtime master criminal, but when a new young criminal named Vector (Jason Segel) steals the pyramid of Giza, Gru needs a bigger, better crime to outdo him. Luckily, Gru is hatching a plan to steal the moon. All he needs is a shrink ray, a loan from the Evil Bank, and the help of three cookie selling orphan girls named Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). As Gru starts to become attached to the girls, it begins to turn his world upside down.

"Despicable Me" is adorable, funny, and has humor that will appeal to both kids and adults alike. It is also one of our favorite non-Disney or Pixar animated films. In fact, it seems like a lot of tricks of the Pixar/Disney/Dreamworks trade have been employed here to make a well-rounded, fun and sweet kids movie with a thoughtful message and a really great, creative story.

Steve Carell voices Gru and was the perfect casting choice for this part. Carell has a wonderful voice and can pull off both good and bad inflections very well. Gru makes a great anti-hero. He has the perfect mix of sweet likability and a villainous nature people of all ages will enjoy both rooting for and against. Jason Segel voices Vector and makes a great rival to Gru and the wonderful antagonist for the story. He is a younger character and has more advanced toys and gadgets, but is every bit as much of a bumbler as Gru, though his biggest weakness is his arrogance. Gru wants to show the world he is the baddest super villain ever and is hatching a plan to steal the know, minus that pesky gravity thing. The thing is, he needs a shrink ray to pull it off, and it just so happens Vector stole it from him in the first place and must reclaim it to pull of the job. He has failed to break in to Vector's lair many times, but Gru notices Vector lets in three little orphan girls, who are selling cookies door-to-door, without question. This gives Gru a great idea, or a "light bulb," as he calls it. He will adopt the girls and use them as pawns in his scheme. Unfortunately for Gru, the girls are so sweet and cute and charming that they start to melt his icy heart. Agnes, the youngest girl in the bunch, is especially heartwarming. Agnes is voiced by Elsie Fisher and is animated with such a sweet, innocent, big-eyed look and demeanor that you can't help but love her off the bat. She is obviously one of the fan favorites of the film and quickly becomes one of Gru's favorites, too. The other audience favorites with massive kid appeal are the Minions, the little yellow capsule-shaped creatures that talk in a jibberish type language and fight and poke and work and have fun. Looking back now, these creatures, more than any other characters in the film, really drew people in to see it, and so much so they were more heavily featured in the sequel and have now spawned their own spin-off film. When push comes to shove, you'd be hard pressed to imagine life without these Minions existing, but to us, everyone else was the star.

Everyone comes together in such a way that makes this film fun to watch over and over again. The little girls that warmed one bad guy's heart, Gru and his strange accent, unmistakably long nose and shiny bald head, Dr. Nefario and his scowling face and old antics, we just love it all. When these memorable characters are mixed with a hefty dose of a sweet story and hilarious humor, you've got the recipe for one successful film franchise.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "Words and Pictures"

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